December 19, 2006

SIUC anthropologist honored for islands research

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale archeologist Brian M. Butler is the recipient of the Governor's Humanities Award from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean.

The humanities council hands out the honor to people who make contributions in humanities and education. The council works with the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities, which provides annual grant funding.

Butler, who is director of SIUC's Center for Archeological Investigations, studied the area's prehistory for 25 years. His research focused on initial settlement, coastal ecology, island adaptations and ceramic technology. Butler also lectures annually in the humanities council's teachers institute.

"I was pleasantly surprised and I deeply appreciate the honor," said Butler "I have done a lot of work there through the years and it was very nice for someone to show that it was appreciated."

Without the support of the University, Butler said he would not have reached his goals. "Basically, SIUC has allowed me the freedom to undertake the travel and research in remote places like the western Pacific," he said.

Butler holds a bachelor's degree earned in 1968 from University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a doctorate in anthropology earned from SIUC in1977.

Recruiting and retaining high quality faculty are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.